The imminent anniversary of Elvis' death is a fitting time to amble down the crossroads where southern black rural music meets southern white rural music. Whatever you make of Elvis, miscegenation, and who owes credit for what, this blending, as all natural processes, has a way of prevailing over all opinions of it. Out of this boiling cauldron come Memphis bred Bluff City Backsliders. "Suppose Jimmie Rodgers met up with the Memphis Jug Band at Sun Studio. Add some New Orleans-style rhythms, and... say..... the Clash... then you're in the ballpark," says drummer Steve Barnat. Listen for honky tonk piano and slide guitar on Charlie Patton's "Pony Blues", a rousing version of "St. James Infirmary," or "Stay on the Right Side, Sister," a favorite of my one year old son, who enjoys dancing nude to it. For what it's worth, I'll owe it to this disc if he grows up to be a good dance partner. Speaking of dancing nude, the Bluff City boys obviously don't wear their underwear too tight. How could they? It's 100 degrees in the shade. So it is with a certain rock and roll looseness, that the instrumentation is respectfully rendered to the original works of WC Handy, Bo Carter and Blind Willie McTell. The Backsliders are scheduled this month for a block party at Sun Studio. If you're anywhere east of the Mississippi in August, get yourself down to the state line. This loving homage to the region is like a little dirt scraped from the fingernail on Robert Johnson's pinky - it contains more strata of soul than an archaeological dig.
"A sinister cabal of superior writers."